By Katie Mae Peters

In today’s culture the elderly are deemed useless and only good for wearing slippers, watching QVC, and pooping themselves. But some aren’t taking this stereotypical retirement persona to heart. In fact directors Martin Scorsese and Clint Eastwood seem to be fighting this old age rut and beating the youth at the same time.

At age 67 Martin Scorsese commands attention in the film world. His films commonly follow an outcast member of society fighting not only himself, but everyone else in order to find his place in the world. Taxi Driver showed audiences a mentally unstable cabbie trying to make a place in New York City. The Aviator showed a billionaire fighting his own compulsive behaviors to peaceable co-habitat with his fellow man. This Tisch graduate’s latest film Shutter Island was said to be yet another Oscar contender, but when Paramount bet on the wrong pony at the track and couldn’t finance an awards season distribution, the ship set sail without the flick aboard. But Scorsese still garnered rave reviews and beat out younger directors endeavors that included Dear John, Valentine’s Day, and The Wolfman, making a profit of over $200 million.

Compared to 80-year old Clint Eastwood though, Scorsese almost seems like a young man. Don’t let the grey hair and sagging face fool you, Eastwood works as hard today as he did back when he attended a gas station pump. Ever since his Academy Win for Unforgiven in 1992, Clint has been a staple on the red carpet. Constantly acclaimed for his films and acting, this Hollywood competitor has been nominated for over nine Academy Awards and gone on to win four of those heavy gold midgets, the latest being for 2004’s Million Dollar Baby.

But why are such old timers still beating the best of the upcoming generation? In most professions this situation is as uncommon as Glen Beck making sane political accusations. Normally the young whipper snappers attain knowledge on up-to-date technologies to make them more efficient and quicker than their slowly decomposing counterparts. But film constitutes a whole other playing field. With technologies and equipment that can be learned on the fly, even the old dogs like Scorsese and Eastwood can learn new tricks while still implementing their years of honed creativity.

Something else gives these gents a leg-up in this day’s competitive film world. Between the mega commercial success of Eastwood’s spaghetti westerns and Dirty Harry films and Scorsese’s box office domination, they posses the cash to do whatever they want and hire whomever they wish to collaborate with on a project.

Unlike the disadvantaged youth, Martin picks and chooses projects without worrying about next month’s rent, which translates into passion. When Clint green lights his next project, he believes in what he’s doing and invests his entire soul and body in a project as seen in Gran Torino or Mystic River.

The passion these men exude for their work translates into endless possibilities and accolades. Whereas you have the unknown twenty-somethings directing the fifth low budget sequel to Cannibal Holocaust so the rent can be paid and their ridiculous student loans will stay at bay. They end up focusing their passion into framing exposed boobs for a shot and in the process deaden some of that fire and creative genius they started out with. Even if someone were to put 100% of themselves into a smut film and truly try to create art, people won’t notice the homage to 20’s silent films with the use of an iris a young aspiring Scorsese might use. People will notice the blood gushing from a freshly slit jugular and the tits.

But is this really a matter of age and reputation or could it be this generation’s greed and lack of integrity? If given the option to intern on a feature with potential and depth or make three thousand bucks a week on a porn, nine times out of ten the latter wins, okay 9.9 times out of ten. The easy way out proves to be the great American vice. An indominible work ethic cannot exist with this mindset.

So many of my industry friends have amazing ideas for projects but instead of developing these in their free time, they chose to bake at the beach and down case after case of Miller High Life. Scorsese and Eastwood poignantly create films because of their determination to see a project finish. Malapaso Productions is known by industry buffs as a company that doesn’t mess around. When a film wraps, Clint Eastwood spends night and day editing and scoring until the deed is done, a whole film pre and post on average takes him three months. No weekend trips to Catalina Island, no over-sized parties where the goals include intoxication and sleeping with last year’s playmate of the year.

Instead of falling into that short term life of luxury a successful film brings or just plain settling for a koosh life, these Hollywood veterans put their nose right back to the grind stone. With the upcoming release of Hereafter and the newly premiered pilot of Boardwalk Empire as well as numerous other projects in the works, these two don’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. I hope they continue to crush their ill-motivated youthful counterparts. I just wonder if during this ongoing cinematic domination, they’ll have time to use their senior citizen discount at IN-And-OUT Burger.